Too many praises can turn children into narcissists
Do you congratulate your children too much for everything they do? Do you spend the whole day reminding them how good and unique they are? Be careful, you can be creating a narcissist. This is what a study carried out by the Ohio State University in the United States, which suggests that the constant (and perhaps excessive) praise of young children can have an unwanted side effect: that the child has an "over inflated" ego.
The problem of "too inflated egos," as the research argues, is that this can have negative consequences both during childhood and in adult life. And it is possible that this is not the life we want for our son.
Study on narcissism in children
"The study shows that Narcissism is greater in Western countries that in the non-western, and suggests that levels of narcissism have been increasing in the first countries in recent decades, "explain the authors of the research, while detailing how it has been carried out.
As they explain, the study wanted to know the roots of narcissism by comparing two theories. On the one hand, that of social learning, which suggests that children become narcissists when their parents overrate them, that is, when they see their children "perfectly perfect" in everything, so to speak, and they constantly remind them of it .
The other theory they have used is that which suggests that children are "inflated by the ego" in the opposite situation: when children put themselves on a pedestal and seek the approval of others.
To assess all this, the researchers surveyed parents and children every six months for a year and a half. The questions were varied: the children were asked about their degree of agreement with phrases such as "children like me deserve something more", while parents did the same with others who said things like"my son is a great example for other children"Finally, both parents and children were asked about the degree of affection they showed to each other.
Which children were more likely to be narcissistic over time? The results of the research show that the overvaluation of the parents was the greatest predictor of a child's narcissism over time but, on the contrary, did not predict their levels of self-esteem. That is, telling children that they are exceptional does not make them have more self-esteem, only more narcissistic.
The difference is important. As the authors of the report explain, while people with high self-esteem "think they are as good as others," narcissists "think they are better than others." "Children believe this when their parents tell them that they are more special than others," this can not be good for them or for society, "they warn.
The problems of narcissism in children
The authors of the report point out how narcissism can negatively affect children. And is that beyond being modest with friends or family, Narcissism is a trait that comes with a series of psychological and social problems, both in childhood and in adulthood, and some can be serious.
"Narcissistic children feel superior to others, believe they have the right to privileges and long for the constant admiration of others," the researchers comment, adding: "when they can not get the admiration they want, they can attack aggressively."
In addition, they also warn that narcissistic individuals "also have a greater risk of developing addiction" and that there are certain "subgroups of narcissists," especially those with low self-esteem, who have "an increased risk of developing anxiety and depression."
Narcissism and genes
The research also reminds us that part of narcissism is based on genes, so there is something in its appearance that would escape our control. Now, the study suggests that the role of genes and that of the environment in which they mature are equally important.
This would be positive and negative: if your child is genetically predisposed to narcissism, it is even more important not to "falsely inflate your sense of value", but educate him with his feet on the ground Congratulations and do not abuse too much praise, as advised by the authors of the investigation.
Angela R. Bonachera